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…Flags off construction of 5,000bpd modular refinery in Imo
For the fifth time, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachukwu has for the fifth time in the life of this administration, promised Nigerians that all four national refineries will be fully functional before the end of next year.
While arguing that it would be sad if the nation’s refineries are not functional by the end of 2019, he averred that the present administration is committed to ensuring that the importation of petroleum products is curtailed.
Business Hilights recalls that the first promise to fix all refineries was made during the 2015 presidential campaign; second one was on swearing in on May 29, 2015.
The current administration also for the third time, assured Nigerians that the refineries will be fixed before the end of 2016.
The fourth promise was when government asked for the approval of $1.8bn for the repairs, but the National Assembly shut it down on grounds of observed government’s serial failures on the same promise.
Analysts say the latest assurance, which is the fifth in the row may not work considering lack of realistic evidence at the refineries.
Giving the cheering news in Ibigwe, Ohaji\Egbema council area of Imo during the ground-breaking for construction of the 5,000 bpd Modular Refinery by Walter Smith petro-chemical limited, he said government is working with dedicated investors to achieve functionality of all national refineries.
Kachukwu stressed that the Buhari administration was committed to ensuring that the nation’s refineries became functional by the end of 2019, noting that “It would be sad if by the end of 2019 we are still importing fuel from abroad.
“So, we are committed in repairing the refineries; by that we can at least process about 500,000 barrels of crude per day. The policy of this administration is begin with refining about 20 per cent of our crude and step it up to 50 per cent in the next five years.
On the new Modular refinery, the minister revealed that the scheme is being partnered by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the core investors as part of fast tracking the delivery on schedule.
However, why many industry experts are skeptical over the fifth assurance from the present administration may not be unconnected with the current observation that upon all efforts made in the last three years, the nation’s refineries have been operating below their installed capacities and recently made a record loss of N20.08bn in May, the highest in at least three years.
The plants are the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, the Port Harcourt Refining Company and the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company.
The refineries, which lost a total of N80.21bn from July 2017 to March 2018, posted a profit of N928.81m in April, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The NNPC, in its latest financial and operations report said Port Harcourt refinery lost N8.69bn, while Warri posted a loss of N7.16bn.
Just as Kaduna refinery, which was idle in May, recorded a deficit of N4.22bn, the latest NNPC data showed that the total crude processed by the WRPC and the PHRC in May was 378,634 metric tonnes, translating to a combined yield efficiency of 91.42 per cent as against the 58.73 per cent in April.
The NNPC said the three refineries produced 214,328MT of finished petroleum products and 131,810MT of intermediate products out of the 378,634MT of crude processed at a combined capacity utilisation of 20.12 per cent, compared to the seven per cent achieved in April.
It attributed the increase in operational performance to the ongoing revamping of the refineries, which it said would further enhance capacity utilisation once completed.
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